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Black Bean Salsa and Wheatberries

July 30, 2012

The past two weeks have been very busy, and filled with nerdy fun. Last week, I had the opportunity to attend a seminar held by Ira Berlin, a historian who specializes in researching the history of slavery. We had the opportunity to visit with researchers at Mt. Vernon and Wye Plantation, where Frederick Douglass grew up. We even visited a few archaeological digs, which seemed to revive my passion from the days of being an Anthropology major. I love content driven professional development opportunities, and for the past week I have been rejuvenated reorganizing my curriculum. The seminar was intellectually fulfilling, but exhausting since the group met from 9-9.

The week ended with my family celebrating my parents’ 40th wedding anniversary. Engaged after knowing each other for 3 months, married at an incredibly young age during Hurricane Agnes, working while each other finished their studies (barely seeing each other), they have really defied the odds. They have taught their three children about respect, patience, and love. After a big celebration with friends and family, we had my siblings and parents over for dinner the next night. Although I did not cook anything new to put on the blog, we were able to sit on the back porch and enjoy a wonderful meal on our “new” outdoor table. The table comes from AAM’s grandparents’ barn in Maine. Since the leaves had been lost decades ago, he made new leaves for our special meal. He is getting quite handy with a power saw.

So this weekend, we kept things quiet. Serafina developed a new level of imaginative play, creating a complex life for her stuffed animals, dolls, and trucks. Reading next to her, I could hear her murmur directions and explanations to her toys. Her development into a child who relishes creative, independent play really warms me.

Saturday night, we decided to make an easy and healthy dinner from ingredients in the house. Wheatberries are normally something I associate with an Autumn salad, tossed with pomegranate and almonds. However, we decided to throw a homemade black bean salsa on top, and decided it was delicious. AAM cleaned his plate quickly, and grabbed another bowl.

Veggies, beans, and grain are a simple combination that can sound boring, however there are several key ways to make these basic ingredients delicious. First, don’t overcook your veggies. They should still be crunchy to add texture. Second, use a variety of vegetables. This recipe is basic, but the green onions and avocado add a second fresh layer of veggies to the bowl. Finally, season well with fresh herbs, quality olive oil,  and good spices. The cilantro, sea salt and black pepper enhanced the ingredients, and a dribble of olive oil on top when you are done adds a delightful taste.

Black Bean Salsa and Wheatberries

  • 1 husk of corn
  • 1 can of black beans, washed very well and drained
  • olive oil
  • 1/3 cup of vidalia onion
  • 1 medium green pepper, diced
  • 1 cup of grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 avocado, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of green onions
  • 1 cup of wheatberries
  • 2.5 cups of water
  • 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • olive oil
  • hot sauce to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, place corn on the rack. Cook for 20 minutes

2. In a saucepan, stir together the wheatberries and water. Sprinkle  1/2 teaspoon of salt in. Let simmer, then lower the heat. Cook for 15 minutes.

3. While the corn and wheatberries cook, saute the green peppers and onions in olive oil. Once they are tender, add the black beans, grape tomatoes, the remaining salt, pepper, and optional hot sauce. Let simmer.

4. When the corn is cooked, cut it off the cob and add it to the salsa.

5. In bowls, add wheatberries, salsa, avocado, and cilantro. Serve warm.

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